Taylor Swift Files Her Own Lawsuit in Escalating Theme Park Battle

Taylor Swift attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - Getty -H 2020
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The artist's intellectual property management company claims Evermore Park, which sued the singer earlier this month, used her music without obtaining the proper licenses.

Taylor Swift’s intellectual property management company is taking action after an immersive fantasy theme park in Pleasant Grove, Utah, filed a lawsuit against the artist earlier this month.

While Evermore Park is suing Swift over the use of the "Evermore" trademark — the title of Swift’s ninth studio album released Dec. 11 — a new lawsuit filed by TAS [Taylor Alison Swift] Rights Management is focused on a different matter. The company claims Evermore Park willfully used Swift’s songs without the proper licenses for some time before it filed its lawsuit.

Swift’s attorneys claim that more than a year before the park filed its lawsuit, TAS had been tipped off that the singer’s songs were being performed and played there without the requisite licenses. As early as 2019, BMI, the performing rights organization that protects and collects revenue for the works, began informing the park that it was infringing on Swift’s copyrights by playing the songs and provided a contract for legal usage. Subsequently, BMI sent multiple letters to the park with a draft music license agreement for the songs, asking for the agreement to be signed and returned to BMI’s Nashville location.

Swift’s legal team said park officials ignored the messages from BMI and continued to use the works without proper licenses when the park's musician character actors performed for visitors. In addition, after the park learned of this impending lawsuit, its CEO and founder, Ken Bretschneider, called BMI seeking to purchase a retroactive license to cover all public performances, according to court papers.

Swift’s legal filing comes three weeks after the park sued the singer, TAS and Taylor Nation LLC in federal court in Utah, accusing them of infringing the park’s name by using it as the title of her Evermore album and accompanying merchandise. Evermore Park, which bills itself as providing an immersive experience where performers portray fantasy characters in an interactive world, argued in court papers that it has been the registered owner of the Evermore trademark since 2015.

Swift’s attorneys countered that the park’s lawsuit was merely "a meritless trademark claim" and an attempt to force a settlement based on Swift’s December 2020 release of the Evermore album.

The park is also reportedly playing, without licenses, the works of Katy Perry, Abba, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Green Day, Gotye, Journey, Nirvana, Semisonic, Third Eye Blind, Tom Petty, Queen, Weezer and Whitney Houston, among others, according to court papers filed by Swift’s legal team.

Swift is asking the court to order that the park pay damages and be permanently enjoined from playing her works. Her team is also demanding a jury trial.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com